Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Prentis, 10 February 1806

Petersburg, February 10, 1806.


The Citizens of the town of Petersburg, believing that the present momentous situation of the United States in their relative intercourse with certain foreign Nations, demands an expression of the public will, have directed me to transmit to you the result of their deliberations. They, with you, Sir, wish to promote those measures which aspire to a true sense of human dignity, and to perpetuate those liberal principles which are best calculated to promote public good—and being fully persuaded, that the constituted authorities of their country, are impressed with the like sentiments, and that peace is the pride and glory of our republic,—they feel perfectly confident that hostilities will never be commenced, but under the most perfect conviction, that any other alternative would lead to national dishonor.

With sentiments of the highest respect, I am, your most obedt. Servant,

William Prentis.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.


8 February 1806

At a meeting of the Citizens of the Town of Petersburg at the town Court House the 8th of February 1806 convened agreeably to public notice given by the Mayor; to take into view the property of addressing the Presedent and Congress on the present momentous Situation of our National Concerns, and to proffer the support of our blood and fortune in preserving our public honor and Security.—

William Prentis, the Mayor, was called to the chair and John Dickson, appointed Secretary.

The following resolutions were severally proposed and unanimously agreed to

Resolved, that the citizens of the town of Petersburg, on reviewing the relations of the United States with foreign Nations, are impressed with the certain tho’ melancholy truth, that their Country has received from some of the Belligerant powers of Europe, the grossest insults and the most vital injuries; insults and injuries which it behoves the Government to redress, whatever hazards, difficulties and dangers it may be necessary to incur in order to obtain reparation.

Resolved, that as to the choice of means whereby National honor is to be vindicated, and national justice enforced, the Citizens of the Town of Petersburg repose the highest confidence in the wisdom of the general Government, that it will select such, as best combine the advantages of being the least expensive, and the most efficacious, the least burthensome and the most energetic; peaceful as far as possible, warlike as far as necessary.

Resolved, that whatever burthens it may be necessary to impose, whatever force it may be necessary to employ, in the prosecution of a just National redress, the Citizens of Petersburg will cheerfully contribute their quota of the one, and bear their proportion of the other; and much as they depricate War, as being unfriendly to the interest of their growing country, yet they will joyfully at the call of Government gird on the swords of their forefathers, or like them, renounce the luxuries of Europe; preferring every evil to that of national disgrace, every deprivation to that of national honor

And as in moments of difficulty and danger like the present it behoves every good Citizen of the republic, not only to deliver his opinion of public affairs, but to evince, his zeal in support of measures of National redress and retribution.

Resolved therefore, that the Chairman and “Secretary” of this meeting, be directed to sign the foregoing resolution in the name of this meeting, and to transmit them to the Presedent and Congress of the United States.

William Prentis, Chairman

John Dickson, Secretary.

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